This week I started off and running. I always feel like this when we first start class until I get back into the grove of things. I was not able to make the first class meeting because of Open House with parents and that kind of threw me off. I don’t like to miss class because I feel like I am behind. I am excited for class to get started and learn new things that can help me in my teaching.
Our essential question for this week was, “What Theories Or Research Can Inform Your Current Practice Of Distance Learning”? This made me think about when I first started taking classes online. I recall being a little hesitant. I did not know what to expect. I was used to taking classes in front of the instructor. I remember thinking, “I hope I can do this and be able to keep up.” Now, a couple of years later, I am still taking distance classes and love it!
Two teaching behaviors that stood out for me were dialogue and structure. I think without those you will be lost when trying to take a class online. The interaction between the teacher and student takes place through dialog. In my classes we communicate by email and through Twitter, Blackboard, and webmeeting. I think hearing the teacher and being able to talk to the teacher is a valuable thing.
In responding to others’ blogs, Sara made the point that if the teacher is not there the student becomes accustomed to learning on their own. I said, “I know when I first starting taking online classes I was a little nervous.” I was used to taking classes in person. With a very supportive teacher and group of students I was able to get through my anxiety and now feel at ease.
I mentioned to Josie an article that talked about how many countries cannot afford to build new universities or accommodate the amount of students that want to take classes online. If it weren’t for online classes then these students would be out of luck. If not for online classes, I wouldn’t have been able to take the classes that I have so far.
I agreed with Mariah that the two main foundations are structure and dialogue. I know that without those two, I would have been completely at a loss when I started taking classes online. I have taken classes before without structure or dialogue and it was very frustrating. She mentioned that teachers have to take a class to teach online in Pennsylvania. I wondered if teachers in Alaska have to do the same thing and it would be interesting to find out.
Bridget talked about a project that she participated in with K-6 students in China. I mentioned it sounded like an interesting project. I told her when I first started taking classes online, I was a little nervous, and that now I love it!Cherie mentioned how she loves how classes work now, and I said I totally agree. I love the way that we are interacting in our classes and have the support and communication we need. I mentioned taking some classes that had no structure or communications and it was very frustrating. I agree motivation is a big factor for taking classes online. Without it, you will get behind, lost, and confused. I said I never thought much about motivation as well because I am already motivated and excited to be learning with a great teacher and wonderful group of students!
It has been a great start to the semester. I look forward to learning more about theories and tying that back into how I learn, and I especially look forward to learning and interacting with the other students in the class.